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Meet Erick Msumanje of Lotus in South LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erick Msumanje.

Erick, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My interest in filmmaking stems from fragmented moments in my life. At a young age in Tanzania, my father used to take me to the cinema. I couldn’t fully understand the films because I didn’t possess the language to decode the dialogue. Still, for me cinema is about listening through seeing. It’s also about simply letting go, which isn’t always easy to do. It’s like meditation or a ritual where you allow yourself to connect and immerse to everything and nothing at the same time. This is where the magic happens. Another moment, that’s influenced my journey is the mythical god-like figure Robert Johnson. How did he learn to play the Blues? In John Akomfrah’s The Last Angel In History, the narrator says, he “sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads in the Deep South. He sold his soul and in return he was given the secret of a black technology, a black secret technology that we know to be now as the blues.” This technology, is a tool I use for storytelling. It’s a tool I use to navigate the human condition and sometimes the unknown. My most recent film is entitled Volta. It was shot in Haiti and Southern California. It’s a visual voyage, that focuses on minimal gestures of the body, ritual, landscapes, and sound. If you were to ask me what my work and practice is about, simply it’s just about the Blues.

Has it been a smooth road?
I think that “smooth road” implies that it’s a linear trajectory or experience. In my opinion, the road is actually a set of tangled complex horizontal and vertical lines. We navigate on that road. It’s complicated. It doesn’t make sense. Sometimes, we get lost. Other times, we feel like completely giving up. It’s a messy yet rewarding experiment. It doesn’t really have an end in sight. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be on it. It’s entangled in forces outside of our control like history, context, condition, and scattered complicated bits from our everyday lives. In my case, it’s about navigating forward while simultaneously learning from your failures. We are imperfect glitches, yet we are also vessels. Simply, to quote Kanye West “ This is a God Dream. We on an ultralight beam.”

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Lotus – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am part of a collective called Lotus. It’s grounded in the belief of pushing boundaries and removing limitations in order to simply create. Lotus is an energy. It’s something we all embody and practice in our own unique way. As creators, we are influenced by the past, present, future, and everything else in between. At times, we navigate chaos while also embracing the joys of life. For me, Lotus isn’t really about setting us apart from others. It’s about learning, unlearning, re-mixing, sampling, and creating something unique. In doing so, you create something that stands out. It moves people. Ultimately, they connect with the work and listen.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Erick Msumanje, Jo Kamimura

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